God Forbid, But what if...

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Ortix

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What if something happened to the Shuttle. Like I said, God forbid; but what if the shuttle exploded? What would happen to the program? Please don't hate me for asking this question. I'm still a stupid kid. But I'm just interested. I know that NASA is doing every single thing to keep the Shuttle and it's crew alive. But let's face it; the shuttle is over 20 years old, it's on life support so to speak. But hat's of to it's engineers. That thing is one hell of a master-piece. I would love to see all 3 of the Shuttle's make it to their bitter end. Hang on there guys! 1 more year!
 
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Ortix

Guest
and what about the ISS? What About Orion and Ares? What about the Crew?
 
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3488

Guest
Hi Ortix,

I would imagine that Ares & Orion development would continue, as they would not be affected by a potential Shuttle disaster.

Regarding American access to the ISS or for that matter any American crewed spaceflight, would reliant on NASA purchasing rides on the Russian Soyuz until Ares & Orion are ready & deemed safe, or at least as safe as is humanly possible.

As Wayne says, the Shuttle program would end. I would imagine & hope that there would be an in depth & thorough enquiry into what the hell went wrong & the events leading up to it.

Andrew Brown.
 
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3488

Guest
drwayne":f8hf3xeb said:
The station would still be accessable.

Wayne
Most certainly, it would involve NASA purchasing seats on board the Russian Soyuz. The ISS would be still be fully accessible in the interim, but it would require ongoing good will from Russia.

Andrew Brown.
 
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Zubenelgenubi

Guest
First of all, I don't think it's in any way a stupid or impertinent question... spaceflight is inherently extremely risky and I'm sure that NASA has spent quite some time analyzing this contingency.

As for the shuttle program itself, I agree with earlier commenters: it would be done. There's no way that a return to flight would be politically viable in the event of another loss.

For the ISS, that's debatable. The only option for continued operation would be Russia, and they're certainly very capable of that, although the program would be crimped due to the difficulty of launching any additional modules. However, I would expect there would be substantial pressure applied to abandon the ISS program and refocus all available resources on future programs. Don't know who would win, but there would be quite an argument.

Just my 2c...
 
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Shadowslayer81

Guest
Hopefully it would be incentive to get Aires online asap as our relations with the russians seems shaky as of late. Would hate to see the shuttle program end on a bad note. Too bad it wasn't able to live up to its goals.
 
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Ortix

Guest
^^^ What goals?

Anyway: Thanks for all your input guys. I remember watching the launch of the HSM4 a while back on discovery channel HD. I was literally freaking out, hoping nothing would go wrong with the shuttle. I was seeing bright flashes reflecting off the shuttle (cam on ET) and i thought that it didn't belong. Luckily, the shuttle made it. But it would suck majorly if the shuttle had to retire early. We wouldn't be able to finish the ISS. Damn, the space program is suffering a lot due to all these global issues. Don't want one, but another 'war' could help boost the space industry. I'm just being theoretical here... Wars DO improve technology etc... Too bad that that is the only way for us to get things done quickly. We need to invest WAY more money in science... I mean... the ultimate goal of a species is to advance to the highest level ASAP. We are just chillin' here with our nukes and we are not even trying to figure out how to harness it's power without making it go boom. Stupid anti-nuclear/science peeps...
 
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Shadowslayer81

Guest
As far as goals I mainly meant the fact they wanted like 50 launches a year with a fast turn around. But theres a lot of other things they wanted it to do like use the external tanks for space station parts, and launch the centaur motor from the cargo bay. Probably some other stuff i cant think of at the moment
 
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vulture4

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>>But let's face it; the shuttle is over 20 years old, it's on life support so to speak.

So as a solution we're going back to even older technology?
 
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trailrider

Guest
Let's posit something less spectacular, and not involving loss of life of the Shuttle crew: What if during landing, an orbiter blows a tire and groundloops off the edge of the runway, damaging the internal structure badly enough that it cannot be repaired? What would happen to the Shuttle program in that event?

IMHO, that would put an end to the Shuttle program for the same reason...politics! :(

I, too, have become rather pessimistic about the future of America's manned space program. I hope that between the Augustine Commission, Congress and the Obama Administration, we can come to some program that will let Americans explore the Moon in person once again!

Ad LEO! Ad LUNA! Ad Ares! Ad Astra!
 
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scottb50

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vulture4":2elxd3uo said:
>>But let's face it; the shuttle is over 20 years old, it's on life support so to speak.

So as a solution we're going back to even older technology?
20/20 hindsight? The Shuttle is on life support because it was a prototype that never evolved. The problems it has faced should have resulted in an improved version rather then patches for the existing version. Shuttle never met fundamental escape requirements, as an example, and the Mark2 version should have address that. By now we should be flying the Mark 5-8 version.
 
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scottb50

Guest
trailrider":10qgv3i0 said:
Let's posit something less spectacular, and not involving loss of life of the Shuttle crew: What if during landing, an orbiter blows a tire and groundloops off the edge of the runway, damaging the internal structure badly enough that it cannot be repaired? What would happen to the Shuttle program in that event?

IMHO, that would put an end to the Shuttle program for the same reason...politics! :(

Not politics. There are so many reasons for any failure, Soyus, Ariana, are equally as complex. It's not a political call, it's a judgment call. With commercial operators becoming viable and other means of getting ISS stuff to orbit it would not be worth the risk, or time for all the fault finding and patches to be applied to make it acceptable.

I, too, have become rather pessimistic about the future of America's manned space program. I hope that between the Augustine Commission, Congress and the Obama Administration, we can come to some program that will let Americans explore the Moon in person once again!

Ad LEO! Ad LUNA! Ad Ares! Ad Astra!
We have explored the moon in person a number of times. If something requires human attention fine, but so far robotic missions could do just as well. If those explorations pose enough questions then humans should go. Right now the robotic missions to Mars have posed enough questions that humans need to go, that should be the priority, not the moon.
 
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seth_381

Guest
Well if there was a runway incident as trailrider proposed why would it have to end ? Think each orbiter have 1-3 missions left so all they'd have to do is put the other missions over to another orbiter. Now the loss of crew scenario I agree with that it'd be done. It is a shame for us to be going back to old technology to solve the problems of the new. Nasa just doesn't have what it used to it gives up to easily.
 
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newsartist

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There is yet another scenario, (that doesn't involve bent metal,) which could end the Shuttle program early.

Any technical issue that gets caught in inspection, and which would involve lengthy rework, ends it right there.

There isn't time, (or in a lot of cases, resources left,) that would make sense to continue fixing.
 
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JonClarke

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vulture4":2vj4fu8f said:
>>But let's face it; the shuttle is over 20 years old, it's on life support so to speak.

So as a solution we're going back to even older technology?
What older technology?
 
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JonClarke

Guest
seth_381":1rludotq said:
It is a shame for us to be going back to old technology to solve the problems of the new.
What old technology?

Nasa just doesn't have what it used to it gives up to easily.
There is no evidence to support this assertion.
 
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crazyeddie

Guest
Ortix":1q3ub80l said:
What if something happened to the Shuttle. Like I said, God forbid; but what if the shuttle exploded? What would happen to the program? Please don't hate me for asking this question. I'm still a stupid kid. But I'm just interested. I know that NASA is doing every single thing to keep the Shuttle and it's crew alive. But let's face it; the shuttle is over 20 years old, it's on life support so to speak. But hat's of to it's engineers. That thing is one hell of a master-piece. I would love to see all 3 of the Shuttle's make it to their bitter end. Hang on there guys! 1 more year!
Yes, it's a bit sad to think about retiring what has been called the most complex machine ever built by humankind. But I'm reasonably certain that "making it to the bitter end" is not a comforting thought to the astronauts on the shuttles final missions. It's not like driving an old car on a long trip, hoping that it makes it to the destination before it falls apart. Any sort of failure would likely end in death.

This is not something I would wish for, because it would be a terrifying experience for the crew, but it would be interesting to witness a shuttle abort mode.....i.e., an emergency that occurs during ascent that results in the return of the shuttle. A Return To Launch Site abort (LTLS) would be pretty exciting, as would a Transoceanic Abort Landing (TAL), where the shuttle does not achieve orbit and winds up landing in any number of predesignated friendly airstrips, such as Zaragoza in Spain. It would make for a pretty dramatic story, assuming everyone survived!
 
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missionunknown

Guest
Am i missing something here, is the shuttle in that bad a state?? Also i was under the impression that a shuttle abort at take off was impossible, as was ejection of the astronauts. Hence one reason why the shuttle is so unsafe compared to the safe saturn rocket.
 
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drwayne

Guest
"safe saturn rocket."

There were times in the ascent when an accident was probably unsurvivable in the Saturn 5, so I would be
reluctant to call it "safe". As I have mumbled before, we came within a second or so of losing Apollo 13
in boost phase.

Wayne
 
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MeteorWayne

Guest
I believe that was Apollo 12, when it was hit by lightning on ascent.
 
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